Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland: Klostermann (2019)
The term “know” is one of the ten most common verbs in English, and yet a central aspect of its usage remains mysterious. Our willingness to ascribe knowledge depends not just on epistemic factors such as the quality of our evidence. It also depends on seemingly non-epistemic factors. For instance, we become less inclined to ascribe knowledge when it’s important to be right, or once our attention is drawn to possible sources of error. Accounts of this phenomenon proliferate, but no consensus has been achieved, decades of research notwithstanding. Alexander Dinges offers a fresh examination of this ongoing debate. After reviewing and complementing relevant data from both armchair and experimental philosophy, he assesses extant accounts of this data including semantic, metaphysical, pragmatic, doxastic as well as more recent psychological accounts. Against this background, he offers a novel psychological account based on the idea that non-epistemic factors affect estimates of probability.